When we grieve, our thoughts can take on a life of their own.
Typically, we bounce between thoughts and feelings of regret, denial, anger, and confusion. These thoughts are troubling at times but can be comforting to others.
In one moment, we may find ourselves thinking, ‘I wish there were something I could have done,’ or ‘it’s not fair,’ while other times we might think ‘this is how things are,’ or ‘he had a good life.’ This bouncing between thoughts and feelings is how we make sense of the loss we have experienced.
Laughter, crying, sharing feelings, being together with a loved one, or being alone are common grieving behaviors. Some people engage in intensive exercise or journal their thoughts and emotions.
Examples of grief include:
- Death of a friend or family member
- The death of a loved one
- Loss of a long-term relationship
- Multiple losses
- Loss of one’s sense of self
- Experiencing loss in childhood
Grief, Loss, and Addiction
Grief and loss can hinder your recovery success. In rehab, we show you how to deal with daily stressors and triggers. However, grief and loss are powerful feelings and take many clients in recovery by surprise.
Although you will build your emotional resilience and adaptive coping skills in rehab, grief and loss can harm your mental and behavioral health and put you in a vulnerable position.
The five stages of grief, as identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her landmark book Death and Dying, are:
- Denial – avoidance, shock, confusion, fear
- Anger – frustration, agitation, anxiety
- Bargaining – finding meaning, reaching out, sharing your story
- Depression – helplessness, despair, hostility
- Acceptance – exploring options, setting intentions
As you move through each stage of grief, you might experience triggers that make you want to use drugs or alcohol again. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, grief is a vulnerable time in anyone’s life. It often leads to defensive or maladaptive coping behaviors.
Suppose you have a history of addiction or poor mental health. In that case, grieving can evoke the wounded part of yourself that led to the addiction or mental health issues in the first place.
In our intensive workshop, we help you understand what grief is, how it works, and how you can prepare yourself to handle all of the feelings that accompany it. Ultimately, our workshop helps you develop the strength and resilience needed to sustain your recovery in the face of grief.
Symptoms of Grief
People who are struggling with grief may experience a variety of emotions and feelings. According to World Psychiatry, it is common to feel:
- Emotional numbness
- Agitation, irritation
- Confusion, disorientation
- Reduced concentration, inattentiveness
These feelings can be overwhelming and may lead a person to engage in risky behaviors to cope. Substance misuse is a common health-risk behavior people engage in to cope with their grief.
Unfortunately, any relief gained from substance use eventually wears off. If a person continues to use a substance in this way, they are likely to develop a severe addiction.
At Cirque Lodge, we help you process all of the feelings and emotions that accompany your grief. Through understanding, we can develop our awareness and give ourselves the compassion and love we need. In the workshop, you can rely on our team’s loving and compassionate support and that of the other clients sharing this stage of your journey with you.